Sunday, December 22, 2013

Convert existing b-mobile voice plans to the “Free Data” plan

Japan Communications has announced a potentially free upgrade path to the “Free Data” plan for users of their older voice SIMs. You can also keep your existing phone number. (Though I don’t think that many readers here will be interested, the upgrade also includes their new “keitai denwa” SIM, which is a voice+SMS only product for feature phones.)

You can apply for the change in plan from noon on December 27th via the My B-mobile page under “change service” (サービス変更).

However, the cost of upgrading could be significant for some people:
  • ¥2,000 fee is charged to change between a 3G and LTE plan (or vice versa in the case of the “keitai denwa” SIM.
  • Older SIM cards are incompatible and docomo levies a ¥3,000 fee for a new SIM
When changing plans, you’ll need to enter the number on your SIM card. The older white and blue SIM cards with a product number beginning with DN03 or AX03 (i.e., version 3 will have to be changed out.

The SIM with "docomo" written in red on the right is an LTE-capable SIM card. These SIMs are used for newer voice plans, even if the data in only 3G. The SIM with FOMA written in blue on the left is only capable of 3G and must be exchanged.

If you have the FOMA SIM shown on the left, then you will also have a 3G plan, so you're looking at ¥5,000 to upgrade, which is more than just dumping your old plan and getting the Free Data plan new to start. The question becomes, is keeping your existing phone number worth ¥2,000?

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